Millionaire Running Back Austin Ekeler Complains He’s ‘Underpaid’

Videos by OutKick

Chargers running back Austin Ekeler thinks he deserves a lot more money.

Ekeler is currently entering the final year of a four year, $24.5 million contract (numbers via Spotrac), and he thinks he’s been sorely underpaid. That has led to Ekeler trying to find a new home, and he wants to get paid if he does.

“Look, man, I’m so underpaid right now as far as my contract and what I contribute to the team. It’s like, I am relentlessly pursuing this. I want to get something long-term done. I want a team that wants me long term,” Ekeler said during an interview with Chris Long.

Ekeler then made it clear he’s at the “peak” of his game and guaranteed another 20 touchdowns as long as he’s healthy. For those reasons and more, he wants a lot more than an average of $6.125 million a year.

Is Austin Ekeler underpaid?

Ekeler is due $6.25 million if he’s still with the Chargers this upcoming season. That’s not among the highest cap hits for RBs in the NFL, but he has a big problem on his hands when it comes to scoring a huge deal.

He’ll be 28 in May, and that means he’ll be 30 by year three of any new deal he signs. NFL teams aren’t exactly eager to hand out massive contracts to RBs that old.

Will Austin Ekeler be traded? (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

To Ekeler’s credit, he has scored a combined 38 rushing and receiving touchdowns over the past two seasons. He has put up some big numbers. However, those are the two best seasons of his NFL career by far, and he’s only getting older. Again, NFL teams don’t like handing out bags of cash to aging RBs.

Furthermore, is there a more replaceable position in the NFL than running back? Jamaal Williams led the NFL in rushing touchdowns last season with 17. Prior to that, he’d never had more than four in a season. How much did Williams get? He received a three year deal from the Saints with $8.15 million guaranteed.

Running backs simply don’t have much value. When a guy who never did much can lead the league in rushing touchdowns, you know it’s a plug and play position.

Austin Ekeler believes he’s underpaid. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Will Ekeler, who should be set for life, get a big new deal? Perhaps, but he might also be overplaying his hand.

Written by David Hookstead

David Hookstead is a reporter for OutKick covering a variety of topics with a focus on football and culture.

He also hosts of the podcast American Joyride that is accessible on Outkick where he interviews American heroes and outlines their unique stories. Before joining OutKick, Hookstead worked for the Daily Caller for seven years covering similar topics.

Hookstead is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.


Leave a Reply
  1. Yep. Don’t remember how much Melvin Gordon was asking but dude definitely overplayed his hand after like 2 decent seasons in the NFL. He never carved out a consistent RB1 spot after that. Todd Gurley got paid and is now out of the league. Cowboys gave Zeke a big contract and he never played up to it. He’s now a free agent.

    I can’t blame Ekeler for trying to get a little more given he’s 27 and it’s his last opportunity for a big contract. However, the Melvin Gordon situation should give him some pause. He probably deserves a bit more but ultimately the Chargers have the leverage to say no. Unfortunately for him, the RB position has lost a ton of value over the past 5 years. Gone are the days of players like Emmitt Smith playing into their mid-30’s. After 30, best these dudes can hope for are 1-year deals as role position players.

    It’s going to continue like this for RB’s and other positions until we see some sort of a cap on QB contracts.

    • Honorable mention: LeVeon Bell.

      I remember when the Steelers offered him a very reasonable contract ($15M/yr?) and he held out for more. Dude didn’t get what he wanted and had to settle for less elsewhere. Dude played like 1 season for the Jets after that and they didn’t get their money’s worth.

Leave a Reply